2013 felt like the year that the commercial real estate market attempted to strangle our projects. we had carved out little nooks for ourselves, found some stability, now we are floating in a sea of uncertainty, but also one of possibility, hopefully that we can seize in 2014.
for the seven years previous to 2013 i spent a lot of time in a little red house that contained thousands of zines and a screenprinting studio. we found ourselves clearing out and relocating to a temporary location, and now just less than a year later having to do the same thing, riding the wave of evictions of the fleeting cheap spaces in our city.
and then there was sad rad. we holed up in the top of a radiator shop, screaming and dancing and creating, keeping warm by packing the room. it was in that space that i got to be in my first punk band. i had always wanted to, but i guess didn't really know how to start or join a band. when the idea of a "band lottery" was floated at a meeting, i disguised my self-interest of thinking that this might finally be my in! the general idea was to get more bands to form and use the space to jam and then have a fundraiser. people would submit their names on pieces of paper and then the names would be randomly drawn and people would be paired with each other to form new and random bands. i thought "if i put my name in, then people will have to be in a band with me! whahahaha." well, they didn't really have to, but i'm really glad that they did. my bandmates were really wonderful and patient and supportive people (i really lucked out) and we played some covers and wrote some of our own songs, then played an awesome show at sadrad on the last day before our eviction from the space. we had a lot of fun and liked each other enough to decide to keep playing and become a "real band" afterwards (we are called half-read and will have a demo tape out soon!).
i really felt that sadrad was a place where people were accepted and not harshly judged, where we talked openly about what we wanted the space to be and for who and how to make that happen, where we tried our best to make people feel welcome (and make the shitty people feel unwelcome, the ones who brought sexism, racism, judgement and violence). it felt like a place where we could learn, make mistakes, have fun, and create by our own terms, and not the terms of the bar owners or superstars or bigshots. i don't think i would be in a band and be learning to play music if it wasn't for sadrad.
even though the space itself is now gone, there is definitely still a sadrad crew keeping the spirit alive. the sadrad crew is still putting on awesome shows with a generator/battery in more and more interesting locations, reclaiming our city's military barracks and playing punk in them and on top of them as they crumble to the ground (as they should). i'm looking forward to the antics and schemes that this group of weirdos and malcontents will conjure up in 2014.